I am still trying on themed days for the blog each week and considering Fitness Fridays. Only, I’m not sure how much I have to share on that subject, as a recurring theme. I may really only have once a month fitness tidbits to share. For now, I’ll consider Fridays free-for-all with an occasional health related post if that works for all of you.
Now, I’m no expert. I’ve taken no classes to certify me nor do I claim to have THE answer for everyone. Quite the opposite. We are all so different that I don’t think there is one way for everyone to get or stay in shape. I can share what I do, or aim to do more accurately lol. I’m not going to lie, motivation is a tricky thing for me. Knowing and doing are not the same.
What I do have is a voracious appetite for learning all about diet and exercise. I’ve read soooo many books on the subject over the years starting in the late 80’s with Covert Bailey’s ‘Fit or Fat’. I’m a self educated gal in this department. This was all long before the internet, where you could find misinformation at the click of a mouse. I still shake my head at some of what I read now as ‘fact’ online. That’s a story for another day, I suppose.
Bottom line, it is easier to stay in shape than it is to get in shape. This doesn’t have to mean gym memberships or highly specialized diets and hours both working out and cooking. Some may look at me and think, “yeah, easy for her, she’s naturally thin.” I’m not. Twice, around 21 years old, and again nearing 30, I gained a good amount of weight. 15 lbs the first time and about 20 the second.
First was while working a desk job after high school. Sitting for hours each day, four years straight, had me buying a bigger clothing size. I made a decision to change my life to become a waitress and move to Vegas. Extreme? Maybe. To this day I enjoy the physicality of the job. I like being in motion.
The second gain was when I thought that, as long as I moved a bunch at work and out playing in my off time (hiking, going dancing all night), I could eat and drink whatever I wanted. Well, that’s a story we all know too well. It’s a two part act – diet plays a huge role.
These days I keep within a 5 pound range. Yes, I weigh myself most every day. This keeps me accountable. I don’t attach feeling to the number, so it does not make a ‘good’ day or ‘bad’ day for me. This may not work for others. How your jeans fit is just as valid a way to keep track. If I’m being totally honest, my biggest motivator is to stay in my dress size! Yes, I want to be healthy. Yes, I want to look good. But mostly I want to be able to wear the clothes I love that I’ve bought.
How do I keep within that range, year after year after year? It varies. In FL I don’t work, so that built in exercise disappears. I run instead. 3 times a week. Add in swimming and biking if I’m training for a triathlon. Weights are always good to throw in the mix, no matter your sport. But here in CA invariably I’m working, sometimes 2 jobs, and the dedicated workouts fall by the wayside. It’s a balancing act.
I do believe that it’s the small things you do repeatedly that make a difference. Much like brushing your teeth keeps the dentist away. Don’t have a lot of time? Split your cardio into 3 short ten minute segments – a walk in the morning, maybe climb stairs on your lunch hour and then another after dinner stroll. Studies show it’s just as effective (if not more, for walkers in particular) than a straight 30 minute session.
Can’t dedicate to a full weights session? Fine. Do some push ups and planks every evening. Maybe some squats or wall sits, too. It’ll take you 5 minutes. But if you keep at it, it will make a difference.
I tend to neglect stretching. I know better, but there it is. One silly thing I do (and the BF hates it because he imagines me slipping and falling) is to raise each leg in the air one at a time in the shower. I rinse the soap out from between my toes, and get a good hamstring stretch, and practice my balance, along the way. Balance is not to be ignored, especially as you get older. Dr. Jolie Bookspan has some excellent information on body mechanics. One trick is to put your socks and shoes on while standing. Again, it’s the daily things you do, over and over.
I’m sure I haven’t told you anything you don’t already know. Guess this is sort of an introduction of me and where I come from on the whole subject. I have done gym memberships in the past, and they were great, particularly at those times when I’d gained and needed to put in the extra effort to get back to my goal zone. But I think that working activity into your daily life is the better way, and will stick with you. Gyms come and go, but you have your body with you always. So go move it in any way that brings you joy, or at least that you don’t loathe!
If I were to boil everything down into 2 quick, simple suggestions it would be to do strength training of some sort (yoga, dumbbells, bands, body weight exercises) and avoid the ‘bad’, bready, sugary, empty carbs. As we know, fruits and vegetables are carbs, too, so I am sure to specify. (for those who don’t know much about complex and simple carbs http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/carbohydrates?page=2) I don’t get too caught up in net carbs and Glycemic Load. I just try and limit the bad stuff. I eat pizza, but go for the thin crust. I make pasta a special treat. Breakfast is no longer a bagel or cold cereal, but a protein laden egg.
Okay, whew, I guess I got to rambling there. Sorry. Still working out the kinks. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it! Enjoy your coming weekend everyone. Let me know what you’d like to read more about on the subject. And please share if you have any fitness tricks or tips!